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Fall 2015 Humanities Forum

Thursday, September 17th
5:30 p.m., Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America
Eduardo López, television producer, journalist and documentarian

The rapid growth of the nation’s Latino community has sparked heated national debate over immigration, yet the reality is that many of us know little about the Latin American roots of migration. In this talk, based on his award-winning documentary, Harvest of Empire, Eduardo López examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today, unveiling a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; Latino/Hispanic Faculty Association; the Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication Department; the American Studies Department; and the Media and Communication Studies Department.


Thursday, September 24th
7:00 p.m., Performing Arts and Humanities Building, Room 132
Dear White People – film screening and conversation
Kimberly Moffitt, Associate Professor of American Studies, UMBC, and 2014 Dresher Center Fellow
Damon Turner, Adjunct Professor in Africana Studies, UMBC and PhD Candidate in African American History, Morgan State University

The film Dear White People follows the lives of four black students at an Ivy League college. Director and writer Justin Simien says, “My film is about identity. It’s about the difference between how the mass culture responds to a person because of their race and who that person understands themselves to truly be. All explored through the microcosm of a success-oriented Ivy League college.” After the screening, join us for a public conversation with featured speakers, Kimberly Moffitt and Damon Turner.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Africana Studies Department; the American Studies Department; and Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity.


Wednesday, October 14th
4:00 p.m., Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Ancient Studies Week
In Comis Veritas: The Principles of Ancient Roman Hairdressing
Janet Stephens, Independent scholar and hairstylist

Through her groundbreaking research, professional hairdresser and self-trained experimental archaeologist Janet Stephens rediscovered the methods used to recreate ancient Roman hairstyles using only natural hair rather than wigs, as was previously believed to have worn. In this lecture and demonstration she will explain the universal rules governing hair behavior so that you too may recognize the truth in any hairstyle, ancient Roman or modern.

Sponsored by the Ancient Studies Department and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.


Wednesday, October 21st
4:00 p.m., Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Webb Lecture
The Republic of the Unlettered: Intellectual History, the Enlightenment, and the Law in the Spanish Empire
Bianca Premo, Associate Professor of History, Florida International University

This talk explores what it means to write an intellectual history of the Enlightenment among people who could not read or write—namely enslaved people, women, and the indigenous inhabitants of the colonial Spanish America who sued in royal courts during the eighteenth century.

Sponsored by the History Department and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.


Wednesday, November 11th
7:00 p.m., Linehan Concert Hall, Performing Arts and Humanities Building
W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture
Linked Fates and Great Expectations: Revisiting Post-Colonial Africa and African-American Life through Diasporic Literature
Dinaw Mengestu, MacArthur Fellow, acclaimed novelist, and Professor of English, Brooklyn College

The author of three novels, Dinaw Mengestu was named a “20 under 40” writer by The New Yorker magazine and received the National Book Award Foundation’s “5 under 35” Award for his debut novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. A 2012 MacArthur Genius Award winner, Mengestu also received a 2006 fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University’s MFA program in fiction.

Sponsored by the Africana Studies Department and co-sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the English Department; the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs; and the Office of Undergraduate Education.


Wednesday, November 18
5:30 p.m., Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
China’s Forgotten Gated Communities
Tong Lam, photographer and Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto

In post-socialist China, gated communities have become conspicuous symbols of affluence for the country’s rising middle class amid the so-called “economic miracle.” However, Chinese cities also have many not-so-visible neighborhoods with mostly low-income migrant workers from the countryside that are physically being gated off in the name of urban beautification and social management. This talk uses a research-driven visual project to examine the systematic dispossession, exploitation, and social discrimination that take place in these forgotten urban sites.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Visual Arts Department; the History Department; the Asian Studies Program; and the Global Studies Department.


Wednesday, December 2nd
4:00 p.m., Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Freedom Marooned: An Atlantic Slave Rebellion in the Dutch Caribbean
Marjoleine Kars, Chair and Associate Professor of History, UMBC, and 2015 Dresher Center Fellow

In 1763-1764, five thousand slaves in the Dutch colony of Berbice in South America rebelled. The extraordinary judicial records of the uprising allow for an examination of the internal dynamics of rebellion. Mapping the politics among the enslaved, rather than merely their interactions with European colonists, shines a light on the many Afro-Berbicians who, eager to remain both master-less and alive, struggled to dodge all combatants, whether Dutch and their Amerindian allies, or rebels.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the History Department.